After a layoff of just over three months, the Castrol FloRacing Night in America returned to action on Monday night at the popular Fairbury Speedway. The ‘One for the Road’ event had originally been slated for Tuesday night but was moved up by a day due to the possibility for rain on the original date. At the end of a quick night of racing, it was home state hero Brandon Sheppard who scored the win at the Illinois facility. The Rocket Chassis driver from New Berlin, Illinois earned $15,000 for his efforts in a race shown live by FloRacing.com.
A total of 31 cars were signed in for competition.
Kyle Larson led qualifying with a lap of 12.727 seconds around the quarter-mile clay oval besting Trevor Gundaker, Shannon Babb, Jeffrey Ledford, Shane Clanton, Brandon Sheppard, Garrett Alberson, Kevin Weaver, Gordy Gundaker and Frank Heckenast Jr.
Kyle Larson won the first heat race of the night ahead of Garrett Alberson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Boom Briggs, Jeffrey Ledford and Ryan Unzicker.
Shane Clanton took the second heat by beating out McKay Wenger, Tyler Erb, Trevor Gundaker, Bob Gardner and Bobby Pierce.
Brandon Sheppard outran Shannon Babb, Gordy Gundaker, Tanner English, Mike Spatola and Jason Feger in the third and final heat of the evening.
Dennis Erb Jr. and Mike Marlar advanced to the main event out of the lone B-main.
At the start of the 50-lap feature it was Clanton who went to the lead with Larson, Sheppard, Alberson and Babb in his tire tracks. A caution just after the completion of the first lap involving several cars near the rear including Pierce, Ledford and Brigg slowed the action.
Babb spun from fifth place in turn three after the lap 1 restart with Tyler Erb and Heckenast being collected.
On the restart, Alberson moved up to third while Wenger took fifth. But on lap 7, Sheppard moved back around Alberson for third. Further ahead, Larson took the lead away from Clanton on lap 8.
Alberson took second away from Clanton on lap 9. He then pulled up to challenge Larson for the top spot. On lap 13, Alberson moved around the NASCAR star to grab the lead as those two cars began to catch the tail of the field. Wenger began to fight with Sheppard for third just before his car went up in smoke to bring out a yellow flag on lap 20.
Under the caution period, Larson came to the pit area with a flat right rear tire. On the lap 20 restart, Sheppard bolted to the lead while Davenport moved to fourth after starting near the rear of the field.
A lap 27 caution for debris slowed the frantic pace. The order at that time was Sheppard, Gordy Gundaker, Alberson, English and Davenport but Alberson came to the pit area for a new right rear tire.
On the lap 27 restart, English made his way to second then charged ahead to fight with Sheppard for the race lead. But Sheppard would pull away as the laps clicked off. English then fell back into a fierce fight for the runner-up position with Spatola and Gordy Gundaker.
Further back, Davenport and Pierce battled for fifth with Larson quickly coming back to eventually joined that fray. But over the closing laps, it was Sheppard who would sail under the checkered flag to claim the victory.
The win extended Sheppard’s streak of winning at least one feature per year at Fairbury to five.
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Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Tanner English, 3. Bobby Pierce, 4. Mike Spatola, 5. Gordy Gundaker, 6. Kyle Larson, 7. Jonathan Davenport, 8. Shane Clanton, 9. Frank Heckenast Jr., 10. Ryan Unzicker, 11. Boom Briggs, 12. Dennis Erb Jr., 13. Bob Gardner, 14. Trevor Gundaker, 15. Garrett Alberson, 16. Mike Marlar, 17. McKay Wenger, 18. Jason Feger, 19. Jeffrey Ledford, 20. Tyler Erb, 21. Shannon Babb, 22. Ryan King